Cats’ Ice

Cats are of divers colours, but for the most part griseld, like to congealed ise, which cometh from the condition of her meat: her head is like unto the head of a Lion, except in her sharp ears: her flesh is soft and smooth: her eyes glister above measure, especially when a man cometh to see them on the suddain, and in the night they can hardly be endured, for their flaming aspect. Wherefore Democritus describing the Persian Smaragde saith that it is not transparent, but filleth the eye with pleasant brightness, such as is in the eyes of Panthers and Cats, for they cast forth beams in the shadow and darkness, but in sunshine they have no such clearness, and thereof Alexander Aphrodise giveth this reason, both for the sight of Cats and Bats, that they have by nature a most sharpe spirit of seeing. — Edward Topsell, Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes (1658).

A Clockwork Orang

A portrait of the clockmaker Thomas Mudge by Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland (1772)


Note: The title of this incendiary intervention was buried by Anthony Burgess in the title of his magisterial A Clockwork Orange (1962): in Malay, orang means “man” (as in orangutan, “man of the forest”). The book asks whether man is clockwork or has free will. Obviously, Thomas Mudge was a “clockwork orang” in another sense.

Anne’s Hans’

Anne Cresacre by Hans Holbein

Anne Cresacre by Hans Holbein (c. 1527)


Prince, n’enquerez de sepmaine
Où elles sont, ne de cest an,
Que ce refrain ne vous remaine:
Mais où sont les neiges d’antan!

Ballade des Dames du temps jadis, François Villon (1431-c.1489)